First Team vs. Romulus (2 : 2)
Evo-Stik League First Division South
Ten-man Sheffield FC draw 2-2 with relegation rivals Romulus in a feisty affair at the bottom of the Evo-Stik First Division South, writes Luke Phelps.
A goalless first half was capped with the dismissal of Julian Lawrence for Sheffield, who after the restart were a goal behind through Romulus forward Zak Lilly. James Gregory equalised for Sheffield with a deft finish inside the box before Romulus took the lead again through Malachi Farquharson. When all looked lost, Adam Chapman stepped up to save a point for Sheffield in the 5th minute of injury time.
Sheffield lined up in their third different formation in three games, opting for a 4-4-2 with Damian Magee coming in at left back and Leon Osbourne returning to the team up front.
Roms kicked off and started the game as the better side. Zak Lilly had a chance to score when Matt Yates’s miskick found him 40 yards from goal, but his effort was wayward. The visitors were claiming for a penalty minutes later, when David Howarth went down under pressure from Julian Lawrence, but referee Martin Beard didn’t agree.
After a nervy opening Sheffield were beginning to string some passes together and had a great chance to score 7 minutes in when Adam Chapman played through James Gregory who ran towards Billy Spink in the Roms goal but sent his effort high over the bar.
With 25 minutes down the game was more of an even encounter. Romulus were hitting Sheffield on the counter, but Club remained slightly more on top. Mark Shaw’s team were piling the ball into the box with set-pieces and ling throws and had a penalty shout of their own when Chapman seemed to be shoved over in the Romulus box.
Both teams massively needed the win coming into today, with 1 point separating Roms in 20th and Club in 21st. With the half ending it seemed the intensity of this fixture had affected the players, with the referee dishing out 3 first half yellow cards.
Despite dominating possession for large parts of the first 45, Sheffield were almost behind when a low cross wriggle through to Lilly at the back post who struck past Yates, but not past Julian Lawrence who stood firm on the goal line to clear.
Lawrence has been a prominent figure in the Sheffield XI of late but was no longer a part of the game after being shown a straight red on 43. As Romulus broke with Howarth, Lawrence came flying in and seemingly over the top of the ball. The referee paused for a second before showing a straight red to Lawrence.
After the restart Chapman filled in a centre half and Andrew Gascoigne in central midfield leaving Leon Osbourne as the lone striker.
Lilly had been Roms biggest threat all afternoon and got the goal that he probably deserved a minute into the second half. Malachi Farquharson was played through for a one-on-one with Yates inside the box and had his initial effort saved. The rebound though fell kindly to the on-rushing Lilly who tapped into an empty net.
Damian Magee came in for his first start since October and had a tough day back at The Coach and Horses, before being replaced by Alex Brown on the hour mark.
With the lead theirs, Romulus had no need to push Sheffield and sat back, remaining dangerous on the counter throughout the game. But Yates, making his home debut, had another strong performance in goal for Sheffield.
With 20 minutes of the game remaining, it looked as though Club were beaten but out of nowhere James Gregory (71) made the game level again. Captain Gascoigne picked up the ball on half way and after beating several players, found himself in the box. Gazza shot at a Roms defender and the loose ball fell to Gregory who half volleyed against home off the post.
What was a feisty encounter had now settled. Both teams look satisfied with a point, but it was not to be as Farquharson (81) put Romulus back in front. An in-swinging corner met the head of a Roms defender, but the effort was blocked. With the ball bouncing around the Sheffield box, Farquharson kept his cool and rifled the ball home from close.
With the game coming to an end, Shaw introduced the pace Rod Orlando-Young to the Sheffield attack. As always at The Coach and Horses, late drama is never too far away, and this encounter were to be no different. With Sheffield throwing everything at the Roms with seconds left, a long ball found the feet of Luis Morrison who squared the ball to Chapman (90+5) who quickly found his feet and fired to ball into an empty net.
Sheffield FC: M.Yates, Turner, Magee, Morrison-Derbyshire, Lawrence, Chapman, Finlaw, Gascoigne ©, Osborne, J.Yates, Gregory. Subs: Orlando-Young, Harrison, Worrall, Brown, Wraith.
Romulus: Spink, Francis, Williams, Lee ©, Taylor, Palmer, Coyle, Howarth, Farquharson, Lilly, Rutty-Smith. Subs: Perkins, Dowd, Shaw, Santos, Sargeant.
|Andrew Gascoigne ©||more|